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Psychoanalysis > Definition

What Is Psychoanalysis

Psychoanalysis has become extremely familiar today to the general public (from the West) after a long time being either rejected or adulterated. But the success of the 5th decade of the 20th century, especially in Europe, has paradoxically estranged it from its essence.

Freud and Fliess picture
Sigmund Freud (left) with his friend Wilhelm Fliess. Beside Freud, Fliess played an important role in the birth of psychoanalysis
Psychoanalysis has spread everywhere not only because of the interest generated by psychoanalytic therapy. We could even say that the therapy was eclipsed by the virtues of applied psychoanalysis. The psychoanalysis applied in literature, sociology, anthropology and ethnology, in religion and mythology has prompted the interest of an audience who had no calling to the clinical sphere.

Finally, psychoanalysis has also been highlighted by media coverage on the most common channels: radio, TV or cinema. Famous movies brought to the forefront famous psychoanalysts like Sigmund Freud or Carl Jung. Several documentaries have been dedicated to Freud's life and work, and even a TV series that has amazed by the accuracy of the information provided.

The multitude and diversity of the sources of data on psychoanalysis today signal a major problem: psychoanalysis is no longer clearly defined in the eyes of the general public. No one knows today exactly what the psychoanalysis is. Unfortunately, there is no effort to clarify this.

That is why we need to clarify first of all what psychoanalysis is. Then we will follow the other steps to enter the mystery of this strange discipline.

A definition

Psychoanalysis designates concomitantly three things:

    1. A method of investigating the mind and especially the unconscious mind;

    2. A therapy of neurosis inspired by the above method;

    3. A new self-standing discipline based on the knowledge gained from the application of the investigation method and clinical experiments.

Therefore, there is nothing confusing in the definition of psychoanalysis. Psychoanalysis is a specific technique of investigation of the mind and a therapy inspired by this technique. We would put the therapy on the forefront to make it even clearer that psychoanalysis is nothing speculative, that it binds more to psychotherapy and less to philosophy, art or culture in general.

The science of psychoanalysis that we were mentioning at the third point comes to light from Freud's famous study called Totem and Taboo, in which he is launching in social and anthropological analysis based on the knowledge extracted from the application of psychoanalysis to neurosis therapy. Whoever wants to know more about applied psychoanalysis needs to read this book.

Main Facts

- Psychoanalysis is the creation of Sigmund Freud.

Sigmund Freud picture
Freud reviewing his manuscript of Moses and Monotheism
- Freud lived most of his life in Vienna and died in London in 1939. He discovered psychoanalysis by synthesizing ideas and information from different theoretical and clinical directions. A great contribution to the birth of psychoanalysis was the self-analysis that Freud himself subjected himself to.

Freud was a Jewish neuropatologist and attempted to create a psychoanalytic movement with the help of non-Jewish specialists to give his orientation more credibility. In this context, he collaborated with outstanding personalities such as Carl Jung, Alfred Adler, Sandor Ferenczi , Wilhelm Reich and more.

The psychoanalytic movement initiated by Freud has experienced many ideological breaks and difficulties. Today, it is inherited by a number of national or international societies that disputed their primacy.

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Read also => On Psychoanalysis (essay by Freud, 1913)

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